How Dr. Pimple Popper Sandra Lee Became an Accidental Celebrity

Sandra Lee — a.k.a. Dr. Pimple Popper — is the internet’s most-famous dermatologist, but the physician is still getting used to being recognized.

“I feel a little weird about it!” Lee admits in the latest issue of PEOPLE. “I don’t feel like I should be a person who’s recognized. I’m not a real celebrity. I got here by accident as a pimple popper.”

Though she’s reached new fame starring in TLC’s hit show Dr. Pimple Popper, Lee first went viral after she began uploading blackhead extraction videos onto Instagram and YouTube.

“The first month I made $30 or something. Then the next month I did it again and made $300. Then the next month it was in the thousands,” says Lee, who chose her own nickname after joining Reddit.


Raised by a dermatologist dad and nurse mom, Lee — who also oversees her skincare line SLMD and just released her new book Put Your Best Face Forward — never dreamed of stardom.

For all the details on Dr. Sandra Lee’s unexpected rise to fame, pick up the latest issue of PEOPLE, on newsstands Friday.

“I didn’t look for fame. It just comes with it,” she says about her nearly 5 million YouTube subscribers and 3 million Instagram followers. I’m just trying to be careful and not get ahead of myself.”

With her new platform, Lee strives to represent dermatology responsibly and hopes to remove the stigma many of her patients face because of their struggles.

“I’m showing these things in part to educate and for people to understand and accept people,” she says about her show. “TLC is showing that these are real people. They’re exposing a part of themselves that they hide from others, and you just want to treat them with respect and make sure they feel comfortable and safe with you.”

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